“inspiration porn” as seen by people with disabilities

In this paper, I would like to examine the criticisms of the consumption of persons with disabilities as “inspiration porn (also called “Emotional pornography”)” and their counterarguments.

What is “inspiration porn”

 First of all, what is “inspiration porn”? Although its definition is now widespread, in this article, I would like to comply with the following speech, which triggered this word to provoke the population.

Stella Young defines inspiration porn as follows.

And I use the term porn deliberately, because they objectify one group of people for the benefit of another group of people. So in this case, we’re objectifying disabled people for the benefit of nondisabled people. The purpose of these images is to inspire you, to motivate you (Omission.)

https://www.ted.com/talks/stella_young_i_m_not_your_inspiration_thank_you_very_much/transcript?language=en

And she also said as follows.

I really want to live in a world where disability is not the exception, but the norm. (Omission.) I want to live in a world where we value genuine achievement for disabled people, (Omission.)

https://www.ted.com/talks/stella_young_i_m_not_your_inspiration_thank_you_very_much/transcript?language=en

 My view

In conclusion, my opinion on this speech is, “I basically disagree, but there are some reasonable parts.” The reasons for this are listed below.

First, how others consume me is a problem, in not my control, but in others’ control. It can not be, neither should be. I don’t need to interfere in the matter. It is the same whether it is a normal person or a disabled person. It is unlikely that others will recognize you according to your self-image. To a greater or lesser extent, the others are those who read contexts and stories that you do not even think of, and make selfish interpretations and evaluations based on them. Of course, maybe I am doing the same to others. It’s no surprise because you and I and others are all different people. In fact, strangers in the town sometimes say to me, “You’re great,” “You’re doing your best,” “I’m impressed with you.” It’s their choice if they feel that way, so I won’t be offended by it. Whatever the reason, I’m glad to see the positive feelings that were generated in those people. And I just do what I want, whether they like it or not.

However, to add one thing, like the high school student in the above speech, the attitude that “At any time, you see the person only as a person with a disability as an object of emotion.” is certainly bad. For example, as a disabled person, this blog also has articles other than disability-related articles. If you comment on the disability regardless of the context of even those articles, I’ll be embarrassed. Also, in the article about the same disability, there is one that talks about my experience and one that considers an abstract concept. I’d be bemused. if you comment on the latter article and say “I was moved and cried.” But, it never means that you shouldn’t be moved by seeing a disabled person at all. I’m just saying, “Please make sure you know what kind of situation and what the other person is talking about and how they are talking.” In other words, it’s just about trying to control TPO. The speech(the end of this article) is very helpful in this regard.

Secondly, as she says, in a world where people with disabilities are evaluated as “genuine achievement” without giving special attention, the efforts of those with disabilities are rather underestimated. I don’t know how she defines “genuine achievement”, but if you think about it normally, it’s the same ruler as a non-handicapped person. In other words, it is a work record or educational background. Only a small number of elites like her can compete with the non-handicapped on such a scale, which is disadvantageous to the majority of people with disabilities. If you are interested about it, check out the university entrance rate and general employment rate for people with disabilities. Rather, it is categorized as “handicapped people” because it is a group that has such a social disadvantage, not the other way around. Even If there is a trait that does not work at a social disadvantage at all, it never be called “disability”. That’s a given. As she also refers to the “social model of disability”, it is easy to understand if you think that people who only wear glasses are not considered as “disabled people”. 

Let me give you some examples. “A person with cerebral palsy who was previously unable to stand can now hold on for a few seconds.” “A mentally handicapped person who had never uttered a word before uttered his first word.” These may not be a “genuine achievement” from a social point of view, but I think that it is as great as winning a Nobel Prize , and is an appropriate achievement that is subject to excitement and praise. Considering that most people with disabilities build our own lives more or less on the basis of such achievements, I can’t rule the idea of “live with a disability makes you exceptional” out as a complete mistake as she did.

She said she was frustrated when she was 15 years old because she was about to be honored with no achievement. I have the similar experience to hers. Just before graduating from high school, I was commended as the best student in the school year at whole school assembly. Certainly I had a good academic record, and I also won awards in writing and math competitions. However, there were many other outstanding classmates, such as those who passed the University of Tokyo , those who were active at the national level in club activities, and those who served as the student council president, etc. Maybe they should have been honored more than me.I was probably chosen in that situation because of my disability. I understand that, and yet, I didn’t feel ashamed to be honored. Because I has been forced to do a lot of extra hard work due to my disability, and I has taken pride in working invisible times to overcome problems due to disability. For example, I am slow to write because of paralysis in my upper body. So in order to finish it in the same test time, I had to try to solve the problem faster than others. Also, in order to be able to excrete alone, I have repeatedly made efforts while shitting myself, and crying.(if I can’t do excrete, I won’t go to high school.) No one else will know about them, but it’s definitely something I’ve accomplished and worthy of awarded. So I would like to say thank you to those who chose me without any hesitation.

Third, welfare budgets and fundraising are never infinite. Other kinds of minorities, social issues activists, and people with disabilities(us) are competitors for that pie.
In that battle, the simpler, more appealing, and more inspiring the narrative that can be presented, the better the advantage. I think one aspect of inspiration porn was created out of that need.

Beyond dichotomy

I have no denial about that your first impression of me is “disabled”. Because it’s my most visible feature, and being a disabled person is an important part of my identity. At the same time, I have no intention of ending with just that. I want to be a person with many strength. I want to effort to show you various aspects in addition to being a disabled person.

Moreover, I do not want you to evaluate me as the normal equal person with the same standard as a non-handicapped person. I know how hard it is, and thinks that it is not fair for disabled people to demand many times the effort of non-handicapped people. Therefore, I always wear all clogs as many as possible due to my disability. If I can get compassion and profit, I will get it as much as possible, without hesitation. I will receive all the money I can get. They are all legitimate rights. I will use whatever is available. At the same time, I have never intend to end my life by only doing so. I will always try as hard as I can.  Its purpose is not to compete with non-handicapped people, but to make me who I am.

Rough summary (frank feelings)

Somehow inspiration porn, somehow disabled and some people with disabilities somehow?????????? It’s too difficult to undersutand!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Shut up!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Keep your eyes out for how I will impress you by showing all my life! ! www! ! ! w! ! ww! ! ;D) LOL

Published by Double Techou

"Techou" means "disability certificate" in Japanese.

2 thoughts on ““inspiration porn” as seen by people with disabilities

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: